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What are the qualities you need in future leaders?

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Navigating a way through the massive, ongoing disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic will require innovative, out-of-the-box thinking that is unlikely to come from groups of people with similar backgrounds and experiences. 

The only way organisations are going to rise to the challenge is by unleashing the creative power of their teams to build solutions for a rapidly changing business world.

This means that organisations should be looking for different qualities in their leadership than before.

They will need their leaders to be collaborative, facilitative, culturally agile, and capable of leveraging the vast diversity and creative potential of their teams.

Research by Lei Huang, Dina Krasikova, and Dong Liu suggests that teams who are able to be more creative and fulfil they potential have leaders who are confidently creative themselves. 

Leaders who have as the researchers call it “a creative self-efficacy” which is the leader's perception of, and belief in, their creative skills

In their research, they asked 106 managers of a US company to rate their CSE (creative self-efficacy).

Afterwards, they surveyed over 540 of their team members who had been in the company for approximately four years.

Results suggested that team members expressed more willingness to focus on creative activities when their team leaders scored themselves higher in their creative skills.

Team members also rated those leaders with higher CSE as being more supportive of their teams' creativity.

When measuring team output, the results suggested that leaders with high CSE also delivered more creative work, but not to the detriment of their teams' performance.

Self-reports from the team leaders also suggested that those leaders with higher CSE were more likely to report their teams as being more creative and productive.

The key takeaway from their research is, as we emerge from the COVID crisis, businesses will be wise to focus their energises on recruiting and developing leaders who able to adopt creative, visionary styles of leadership.. 

Leaders who do not force their creative solution on their team (so not top down) but can work with the team to help them create a solution to meet new business needs, targets or objectives.

The EBW View

The study by Huang, Krasikova and Liu, indicates that teams with leaders who are confidently creative do well when developing creative activities and produce more innovative work.

Creative self-efficacy is not the only trait that disposes leaders to encourage creativity, but it is one of the few that has been explicitly identified by research to date.

The good news is (especially as we know that creative and innovative leaders are scarce), that building creative and disruptive leaders and teams can be developed by focusing on Emotional Intelligence at work or Business Emotional Intelligence

Developing awareness of emotional drivers and how the work environment affects you - is the first step to understanding how to respond appropriately to new situations, manage the emotions of change and develop creative self-efficacy.

Take a moment to consider:

  • Do you have operational leaders who act as change agents or do they resist change?
  • To what extent are they able to change to suit new situations?
  • Do you know what activates or inhibits their ability to manage change?

Watch this video, what leadership styles to do you see in your organisation..


In our experience, creative leaders who use their Emotional Intelligence at work are comfortable with ambiguity and experimentation. They are able to connect with and inspire a new generation, they lead and interact in entirely new ways.

They are able to redesign operating strategies for ultimate speed and flexibility. They embed complexity that creates value in elegantly simple products, services and customer interactions.

Assessing and developing leader and teams that are open to innovation and that can create disruption in the marketplace need not be a herculean task,

By using Emotional Intelligence assessments you can quickly understand the building blocks of Emotional Intelligence at work and develop creative self-efficacy, so teams and their leaders can successfully achieve solutions suitable for ways they need to work now and in the future.

Discover How Business Emotional Intelligence Transforms Leaders and Teams



The EBW is the EQ tool of choice for many world-leading companies, including: